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Van Wanggaard Seeks Recount in 21st District Senate Race

Republican senator says he's taking the action because he's been asked to do so by constituents who believe they were "disenfranchised" in election due to alleged voting irregularities.

Republican State Sen. Van Wanggaard Friday asked the state to conduct a recount of the June 5 recall election — a move that state Democrats say is a waste of taxpayer money."

Wanggaard, , said is seeking a recount because many of his constituents have asked him to do so.

“From the moment the election results were announced on June 5th, I have had dozens of people beating down my door demanding that I ask for a recount immediately,” Wanggaard said in a statement. “While doing so may have pleased many of my supporters, especially those in my party, I have never done something just because it was demanded of me.”

Wanggaard lost to Lehman by 834 votes — with Lehman receiving 36,351 votes and Wanggaard getting 35,517 votes. The county's.

Lehman said that while he was a bit surprised that Wanggaard wanted the recount, he's confident in their ability to continue carrying the win. Since the night of the election, officials with Wanggaard's campaign have alleged that there were "voter irregularities" and the an investigation looking into a number of allegations.

"Anyone can make an accusation," Lehman said. "What we're seeing is a pattern of negativity."

Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, released the following statement:

“It is shameful in this era of deficit crisis that Van Wanggaard is willing to waste taxpayer money in a desperate effort to cling to power. It is also shameful that Wanggaard has resorted to raising the specter of fraud, when the fact is that the voters of his district rejected him in a hard-fought, but fair, contest. The people have spoken. Van Wanggaard should spare them higher taxes and listen.”

How the Recount Process Works And Who's Paying For It

Since Wanggaard lost by a margin of more than one-half a percentage point, he will need to pay for a portion of the recount. According to state statute, "the petitioner shall pay a fee of $5 for each ward for which the petition requests a ballot recount, or $5 for each municipality for which the petition requests a recount where no wards exist."

However, Wanggaard's campaign said earlier this week that people from all over the country have contacted him and they are willing to help pay that cost.

Michael Haas, staff counsel at the Government Accountability Board, said the GAB received the petition along with a check for $685, which is the cost to cover 137 wards. However, the cost of the recount could be thousands of dollars, Haas said.

"The County Clerk would have much better idea of the cost, but really most of the cost is on the County," he said. "There are a number of municipalities involved, the County also has to pay the Board of Canvasses to reconvene and they have to reprogram all of the voting equipment."

The state may issue the order for the recount either today or Monday.

If the order is issued today, the recount will likely begin Monday or Tuesday, but if the order is issued Monday, it will likely take place Tuesday or Wednesday. 

The outcome of the 21st Senate District race has been watched closely statewide because a Lehman victory gives Democrats control of the state Senate by a 17-16 margin.

The County has 13 calendar days to finish the recount, but Haas said he thought they would finish next week if they started early in the week. There’s also an appeal period where either of the candidates has five business days after the county submits the results to have the matter heard, then we have to wait five day to issue the certificate.

Why Wanggaard Is Asking For A Recount

Wanggaard said he thought about what was in the best interest of the 21st Senate District and spoken to a number of voters, supporters and elected officials before making his decision. All of them supported a recount, he said.

He was also reminded of Judge Dennis Barry’s election where he had been down
by 700 votes, but after he asked for recount and won by 90 votes.

“I had forgotten about that story about my friend,” Wanggaard stated. “For a variety of reasons, not all related to the election results, that story warmed my heart.

"I also heard, unsolicited, from many, many others — people I have never met. Like many, they are passionate about the recent elections," he added. "Overwhelmingly, and for a variety of reasons, they believe their votes were disenfranchised on election night. And they are asking for a recount."

Wanggaard stated he was not seeking a recount as a delay tactic.

“This is not about maintaining power or denying Democratic power,” he stated. “There are no ‘secret plans’ for a special legislative session during this recount and no votes scheduled.”

What The Petition Alleged

Wanggaard filed a recount petition Friday with the state Government Accountability Board, which listed the following reasons for a recount:

• Numerous challenges by election observers hadn’t been documented or
acknowledged.

• Individuals providing assistance to voters were not properly documented.

• Individuals were allowed to register to vote and vote with improper proof of
residence and/or identification.

• Individuals were electioneering in polling locations.

• Individuals voted in more than one location.

• Individuals were given incentives to vote.

James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Mr. Tolley - Under the logic used in Tate's concluding that a recount that is unlikely to sway the results of an election is in fact a waste of money, wouldn't such logic also apply to concluding that a failed recall is indeed nothing more than a waste of time and money as well? These are Tate's words/conclusions/logic at work - not Hoffa's. I'm merely commenting on Tate's displayed HYPOCRISY here, something that he has become known for displaying on quite the regular basis.
Denise Lockwood June 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Lehman's camp says the recount will cost $16,000; GAB says about $10,000; still waiting for Racine County Clerk to call back. Prosser recount was $3,500.
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Ask Van if he'll be a true stand up guy and offer to pay the full actual costs of the recount, as opposed to allowing the taxpayers to pick up 80% of the bill as the recount statute permits.
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 08:11 PM
According to the canvas (http://www.elections.racineco.com/crepository/countyclerk/electionnight/detail.pdf) some 73,091 votes were cast in precincts where the Lehman/Wanggaard race was on the ballot. Within those precincts Lehman's canvassed total is 36,351 and Walker's canvassed total is 36,547. Those add up to only 72,898 so should these numbers stand it is not possible to infer from them that anyone necessarily split their ticket. Of course it doesn't mean that nobody split their ticket either, and so perhaps a few did. I'd suggest one factor might be that alone among the Senate recalls, this featured two candidates who both had been the district's State Senator before. Voting against the concept of recall would then be tricky for the fraction of voters who don't pay attention to who the current one was (not everyone watches these things like a hawk after all). That's just speculation about an unproven possibility though.
Tim June 15, 2012 at 08:17 PM
It doesn't matter in anyway shape of form what the cost of the recount will be. It's Van's right to do this and I'm glad he is, regardless of the outcome. None of this would be happening had the lefties not started this foolishness to begin with. Scott Walker and the repubs won a ligitimate election but because the left didn't like the outcome of that election they tried to change it, and the cost wasn't an issue then. Whatever it took. But they failed. And I believe Novemember will once again give the repubs the majority. So, instead of achieving the downfall of Scott Walker and the repubs, the left instead has made Scott Walker a powerhouse in Wisconsin and across this great nation. So thank you lefties for that. Now, not that you will, but it would be very nice if those of you on the left would just shut up for a while. Stop your complaining about everything, the majority of us really are sick of you. And how many times do we have to vote you down and tell you to just chill awhile?
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 08:21 PM
So, why would a district recount cost significantly more than a county-wide recount? This makes no sense - Lehman and the GAB are both full of it unless they know something that they aren't sharing....
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 09:03 PM
@Mr. Tolley - If there wasn't a significant split ticket vote, then the only other reasonable explanation that exists for Lehman receiving more votes than Barrett did is if there was a significant number of ballots cast for Lehman that either abstained from voting in the Governor's race OR voted for Trivedi. Indeed, the Governor's race recorded 703 ballots for Trivedi/scattering/overvote/undervote. It's completely possible that all of those 703 ballots voted for Lehman, which would leave us with a solidly probable 125 split ticket ballots being cast for both Walker and Lehman. An analysis of the Lt. Governor's race in the District, which saw Kleefisch with 36,015 votes and Mitchell with 35,746 votes, supports such a conclusion. Thanks for pointing that out! However, if Wanggaard had received a vote from everyone that voted for Walker, he would have beat Lehman by 195 votes. So indeed, the conclusion stands that lazy conservatives and split ticket voters cost Wanggaard the election.
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Given that at the time the Walker recall was initiated polling showed Walker's net approval in negative territory and him losing to some named candidates, it could not possibly have been a foregone conclusion that he would ultimately win. (In fact the very first time that Walker topped 50% in any recall poll was in PPP's of 4/13-15/12 and that was in a matchup against La Follette. The very first time he topped 50% against the entire field was on 5/13/12 in a poll conducted by We Ask America, a mere 3 weeks before the election). Your position of blaming recall initiators (such as Tate) for incurring the costs of running the recall election due to its ultimate result is one of blaming them for not being psychic. On the other hand the 2011 Supreme Court race recount shifted the margin by 310 votes out of about 1.5 million votes cast, so there's no reason to think that a recount of about 73,000 votes would move a result by over 800. Therefore it is not hypocritical to decry the recount as a waste of taxpayer resources while having initiated a failed recall.
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 09:31 PM
@James Hoffa: I did couch my estimate with the provisio that recount procedures had not changed - there may be machine programming costs if it has become an option to use them for the recount. It's also possible that the GAB has some fixed costs associated with a recount that wouldn't have been counted towards Racine Co's portion of the Prosser/Kloppenburg recount. So these numbers don't sound wildly implausible to me.
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
I'm just wondering if anyone could help me with this point of detail: "Michael Haas, staff counsel at the Government Accountability Board, said the GAB received the petition along with a check for $685, which is the cost to cover 137 wards." I make it 134 wards from http://www.elections.racineco.com/crepository/countyclerk/electionnight/detail.pdf : Town of Dover (8); Town of Norway (11); Town of Raymond (6); Town of Yorkville (5); Village of Caledonia (19); Village of Elmwood Park (1); Village of Mount Pleasant (23); Village of North Bay (1); Village of Rochester (6); Village of Sturtevant (8); Village of Union Grove (7); Village of Wind Point (3); City of Racine (36). What have I missed?
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 09:38 PM
@Mr Tolley - You have a point and you present it well. But, as I've stated before, I have very little faith in polls. Last year's round of senatorial recalls provided sufficient proof that the polls weren't as accurate as the faith you place in them suggests. Even in the districts the Republicans lost, the margins were tight, and in those retained, the margins grew. And the Dems managed to hold their seats with comfortable margins as expected. There was no major change of sentiment the in state even at that time, despite what anyone else or the polls were suggesting. Not to mention that as cited by Wanggaard and presented in this article, there was a previous recount in Racine County where the initial margin that separated the contenders was upwards of 700 votes, but the results of that recount completely eliminated that margin and shifted the victory by roughly 90 votes. People do make mistakes - after all, to err is human, as Tate should well know! Accordingly, his logic applies equally, as there are definite examples on both sides of the equation that one can point to. To suggest otherwise is itself hypocritical, isn't it?
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
@Mr. Tolley - I understand what you're saying, but triple to five times more - that just seems a little extraordinary to me.
GARY June 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
You can use my tax money for the recount
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Racine - 36 Wind Point - 3 Union Grove - 7 Sturtevant - 8 Rochester - 6 North Bay - 1 Mount Pleasant - 23 Elmwood Park - 1 Caledonia - 20 Yorkville - 5 Raymond - 6 Norway - 11 Dover - 8 Total: 135 Good question???
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The point though is not what you believe about polls, but rather what is reasonable for Tate to believe about polls. You can't claim that Tate must necessarily have thought his horse in the Walker recall race to have been doomed from the start. As presented in the article, the prior recount that changed an election outcome had been forgotten even by Wanggaard himself, a local figure and friend of the candidate in question. It is therefore not reasonable to presume that Tate had been aware of this at the time that he made his statement (also quoted in the article). Tate was apparently wrong about the potential for a recount to change the outcome, but this is not the same as being hypocritical. If, armed with this new knowledge, he continues to make the same point then it would make him an exaggerator/liar/whatever term floats your boat. However, it would even then not make him a hypocrite since there was plainly no foreknowledge that the Walker recall was destined to fail at the time it was initiated by Tate (among others).
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 10:01 PM
@Gary - I concur! Given the history of recounts in the county, and all the reported irregularities, this is a wholly justified recount - much more so than the statewide Kloppy v Prosser recount was!
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Ah yes, I missed Caledonia's 20th ward, thanks. 135 it apparently is. Maybe Wanggaard tagged on a little extra just to be on the safe side: it would be rather bad to have one's recount denied because of a mere $5-10 if you'd miscounted like I just did.
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 10:06 PM
@Mr. Tolley - Then why didn't Ms. Kloppenburg take the high road and request a recount solely of Waukesha County instead of burdening the entire state, as she did? According to the recount statute, she could have limited her recount request solely to Waukesha County, as the statute expressly permits selection by wards, and thus saved the taxpayers millions in the process!
Geoff Tolley June 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Kloppenburg's recount petition can be found at http://gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news/4_5_11_recount_petition_pdf_68935.pdf and the statutes do indeed apparently allow for partial recounts. However, two things must be noted: firstly that I only said the Waukesha circumstances were "principally" the basis for the recount, not exclusively; secondly that the recount costs were not "millions" but $520,491 for 70 of the 72 counties (http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/supreme-court-recount-costs - one of the two counties which did not provide an estimate was Racine, which we now know from Denise's research was about $3,500) with Waukesha responsible for $129,000 of that, so a Waukesha County-specific recount would have cost about $400,000 less.
Elizabeth P June 16, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, released the following statement: “It is shameful in this era of deficit crisis that Van Wanggaard is willing to waste taxpayer money in a desperate effort to cling to power." This is obviously a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I didn't see you complaining about the amount of taxpayer dollars it took to pay for the recalls of our Governor, or of Mr. Wanggaard, which was well beyond what the recount will cost. I think you had best keep a lid on it, Mr. Tate, lest you sound like a hypocrite.
Geoff Tolley June 16, 2012 at 09:15 AM
You charge him with hypocrisy in this matter precisely as James Hoffa did above, but he has so far failed to support that charge. Rather than address my argument above you start a new subthread down here. Since you blame Tate for not being clairvoyant, can I have next week's winning lottery numbers? No? Hypocrite.
Johnny Blade June 16, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Please explain how the WEATrust health insurance costs 50% more than competing health insurance companies plans for the same coverage .. I think that explains it .. And the Union forced the schooll boards to exclusivly use WEATrust .. You know they caught Al Capone on tax fraud ... so of course that was the only evil he did ... If you can't see the trees for the forest i don't know how to help you
Johnny Blade June 16, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Oh yeah apologize to extortionists .. that is freakin funny
Denise Lockwood June 16, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Racine Unified hasn't been on WEA Trust insurance since 1993.
mau June 16, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Like the Anti-Walker crowd say "Who cares how much it costs, this is democracy in action". How much did it cost Racine County for the do-over of a legitimate election?
PoliticalFodder June 16, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Voter fraud hype is a ploy to take people's attention away from the real problem, election fraud. Voter fraud and election fraud are very different. Voter fraud is high risk, low reward. High risk for those who participate, it requires people to present themselves to vote, either more than once or illegally. The penalty for voter fraud is substantial. It’s low reward because each crime only adds one extra vote to the total. To affect an election would require a massive conspiracy. Election fraud, on the other hand, is low risk, high reward. One person can flip hundreds or even thousands of votes in private and even remotely. The risk of getting caught is small but the reward can truly be the outcome of the election. To root out fraud elections need to be verified by hand counting the ballots in public. The total of the hand count needs to be compared the machine totals. In WI the votes tallied by the machines are never verified by hand counting, not even in a recount. In recounts the ballots are simply put back through the voting machine to be counted. Without a real validation of the machine totals there is absolutely no way of ever knowing who truly won an election. Stephen Spoonamore a Republican computer security expert on computerized voting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAyEfovA404&feature=bf_prev&list=PL7EA9A7F25C837D23
PoliticalFodder June 16, 2012 at 09:21 PM
What should concern every citizen in the state of Wisconsin is that open ballot bags, a broken chain of custody and an election official turning an election on its head by finding 14,000 votes on a computer that was not secured and went home with her 2 days after the election had NO consequences. She is still an election clerk and there were still huge problems with that election. We need a major overhaul of our elections in WI they need to be verifiable and breaking election law should have consequences. It amazes me that people here have the nerve to scream fraud with no proof but when real proof presented itself they sat on their hands because it was about winning, not what is right. In addition to the problems with the Supreme court election the judge in question and the clerk in question had a long standing personal relationship, he was previously her boss. Add to that the fact that this woman had previously been given immunity from prosecution to give up others should be a red flag. Yes you will all be right but never just.
PoliticalFodder June 16, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Recounts are a joke they go through the same unverified machines giving yet another unverified vote. Recounts should be hand counted. The only way to know that a vote is correct is to hand count the ballots in public and compare the machine totals to the hand count. Some good information on electronic voting in WI and in general. Education of the population is the key. Meet Command Central, the People in Charge of Wisconsin Voting Machines http://wcmcoop.com/members/meet-command-central-the-people-in-charge-of-wisconsin-voting-machines/ Computer expert explains why computerized voting is easily hacked. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAyEfovA404&feature=bf_prev&list=PL7EA9A7F25C837D23
Geoff Tolley June 17, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Racine County recounted by hand in the 2011 Supreme Court race because of technical limitations (which I think were related to the availability of spare memory packs so that the originals could be preserved simultaneously with the recount). Having said that, the same might not necessarily carry over to this recount.
Geoff Tolley June 17, 2012 at 02:26 AM
No-one complaining about the WEA Trust has yet been able to furnish me with any actual evidence that it "costs 50% more than competing health insurance companies plans for the same coverage" (or similar sentiments). No-one complaining about the WEA Trust has yet been able to furnish me with any actual evidence that "the Union forced the schooll boards to exclusivly use WEATrust". Perhaps you will be the first, but you'll pardon me if I don't hold my breath.

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